I’ve been travelling for a few years now and the number one question I get is “how can you afford to travel all the time!?”. I grew up in a household where saving money was a skill we learned early on, so it’s been ingrained in me. Work hard and save my money 🤷🏼♀️ … but I guess it isn’t always that simple. I’ve set out 10 easy ways to save money for travel so you can get started NOW and be on that next trip sooner than you think!
1. Stop. Eating. Out.
Now’s the time to get into cooking! As someone who isn’t exactly thrilled to cook each night, I can understand the struggle to pick up a frying pan instead of ordering in. Here are a few ways you can cut the habit of eating out and make cooking at home more enjoyable:
- Start trying new recipes – With thousands of recipes online, I hate spending hours looking for what I want. Instead over time I’ve found a few websites/cookbooks from the same people and try new meals every so often. Half Baked Harvest is a go-to for finding new inspiration. I also started subscribing to a few food influencers on YouTube to find quick meals.
- Embrace the meal prep – Although most people are working from home at the moment, I’d highly suggest meal prepping regardless of your work schedule! Having healthy and good food ready to go helps fight the urge to order something. There are so many easy meal prep ideas online and once you find a few you love, it’s easy to rotate through them and never get bored. I find it helps to have a big batch of quinoa/rice and roasted veggies on hand.
- Dinner dates from home – Once social distancing is a thing of the past, start doing dinner dates/parties with friends at home instead of going out to eat. Everyone can pitch in for the ingredients or you can rotate and take turns hosting them. It’ll save you money, you’ll pick up some new recipes to use at home and you’ll most likely have leftovers to eat for lunch the next day!
- Try a new theme each week – A good way to get into cooking is by trying a variety of cuisines. Try Mexican one week, Italian the next, then French, Vietnamese, etc and so on.
Another tip when it comes to saving money on food is by buying in bulk! It’ll always be cheaper in the long run and you won’t have to make as many trips to the store. 🙌🏽 I usually bulk buy grains such as quinoa, nuts, seeds and beans. If you really want to save on groceries, try getting your produce from local markets and incorporating more of a plant based diet!
2. Cut Your Expenses
The easiest way to save money for travel is by cutting your exiting expenses each month. Ask yourself what you can do without. Do you really need that gym membership? Or can you go for a run or do a home workout instead? Social distancing/self-isolation has definitely proved that we don’t need a gym!
You can also think about what you’re spending money on daily. Do you buy a coffee each day? Go for after work drinks? Buy a pack of cigarettes? By cutting out those small daily expenses, you’ll see your savings grow much faster.
3. Minimalism is Your Friend
Since most of us are spending a lot of time at home right now, it’s the best time to do some spring cleaning and sell things you don’t need! Depending on where you live there are different Facebook groups to sell used items or you could use Carousell, Poshmark, Depop etc.
Once thrifts stores are open again you can donate any items you were unable to sell/shop for yourself there! Not only will you save money for travel but it will make you feel so much better to get rid of clutter around the house.
If you need to buy new items here are a few ideas that will save you money:
- Try shopping through ThredUp – an online thrift store
- Share clothes with roommates/friends to change up your wardrobe
- Rent instead of buy for special events – Rent the Runway (North America), Rent a Dress (AUS), All the Dresses (NZ) are a few places you can start looking!
- Check the kid’s section when it comes to buying new shoes. If you wear under a women’s size 8 (US) you’ll fit the larger kid’s shoe sizes and save anywhere from 40-60%!
- DIY old clothes by tie dying, cropping or bleaching for example
4. Embracing Freebies
While most things in life aren’t free, there are a few of them if you know where to look! Do some research to see what credit cards offer cash back or entertainment rewards. For example, my credit card accumulates points for free movies which has ultimately saved me hundred of dollars.
There’s also heaps of free courses online if you’re looking to learn a new skill. I’ve been using a free trial on Skillshare to learn more about photography and writing.
Once things are back to normal, there will be free events in your hometown/city. Sign up for local email alerts to see what’s going on and you’ll see how many freebies are around!
5. Become Low Maintenance
Lash extensions, manicures, fake tan? You don’t know that girl anymore!
Try embracing a more natural look and you’ll see how much you’ll save on makeup and other beauty supplies. If you can’t imagine your life without those luxuries, find cheaper options. You can do your nails from home for much cheaper and if you’re feeling risky you can even dye your own hair from home … Just don’t blame me if your hair falls off!
6. STOP Online Shopping
I think it’s safe to safe that we’ve all fallen into the trap of online shopping once or twice …
It can be hard to resist a good deal but it must be done! There’s always going to be sales and a reason to justify buying something new. You just need to keep what’s a priority in mind and never impulse buy.
I’m not saying it’s going to be easy but it’ll be worth it in the long run when you’re laying on an island with a drink in hand!
7. Keep a Money Jar
Let’s face it, most of us don’t deal with cash all that often these days but it can’t hurt to keep a money jar! Next time you get change, money for your birthday, find a dollar on the street, put it in the jar. You’d be surprised how quickly money will add up!
You can also take this tip and do it in reverse … If you’re worried about spending cash that you have laying around, put in the bank OR make things more interesting by hiding the money on yourself. At the risk of sounding crazy, I’ll admit I’ve done this a few times. Put a crisp $50 bill in the pocket of my winter coat at the end of the season only to find it again next winter when I need the cash most! It’s a nice surprise when you end up having more money than you thought.
8. Repurpose Things at Home
Another easy way to save money for travel is by repurposing old items. For example, if you need new containers to store food/lunches, hold onto glass jars like peanut butter. or other spreads. Just empty and wash them when you’re done and the problem’s solved!You can also use glass jars to store office supplies or turn it into a craft be painting and decorating them.
Once you’ve exhausted everything you already have, you can find some great old furniture or household items from thrift stores, garage sales or Craigslist/Kijiji. You may even luck out and find some great furniture to repurpose on hard rubbish removal days.
Make it a fun crafting experience and just think of it as another way to keep busy during quarantine!
9. Set a Goal
It seems like a no brainer but setting a specific goal for how much you want to save will keep you motivated! Keep on track and treat yourself (with something small of course) if you reached your goal for the month.
You can put little reminders around your room or house to remind you each day what you’re working towards. It also might help to put pictures of the place you’re saving to travel to as your phone background. This way you’ll be subconsciously thinking about saving!
If you’re more lax about setting goals and tracking finances like myself, still make sure to set aside some time a few times a year to assess where you’re at and what you’re saving for.
10. Pick up a Side Hustle
If you want to save money quick, pick up a side hustle!
I’m not going to lie, it can be tough to pick something to do with so many options but it’s easiest if you look at your interests. What have you been doing that could be another income stream? Do you have any hobbies that could be turned into sales?
I’ve personally dabbled in a few different side hustles over the years to keep my love for travel afloat. My most recent was selling vintage/thrifted clothes on an Instagram account: @vitalvintageco.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Online tutoring – Find students on your own or go through an agency
- Secret shopping – This is the site I used
- Start an Etsy shop – You could sell jewelry, art etc
Worst case you can always pick up a serving bartending nights on weekends (in the future of course) to help you save up even faster!
Can you think of other easy ways to save money for travel? Let me know what you’ve been doing to budget before trips. Feel free to leave a comment below or DM on Instagram to talk all things travel!